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Anticorruption In Bahrain

1. What is Bahrain’s legislative framework for dealing with bribery?

There is no separate bribery law in Bahrain. Bribery-related offenses are covered by Articles 186-193 and 417-427 of the Bahrain Penal Code, which was established by Decree Law No. 15/1976, as amended (the Penal Code). Bribery of public officials or bribery in the private sector (if it occurred after the 2013 revisions) may both be considered bribery offenses under the Penal Code’s bribery provisions.

This summary’s article references all pertain to the Penal Code.


2. What is the definition of a bribe?

The Penal Code makes no explicit definition of bribery.

Bribery is defined as a gift or privilege of any type, or a promise to be given one, to induce or reward the incorrect performance of a relevant function or activity, whether directly or indirectly.


3. What are the most serious violations of this legal framework?

The offenses applicable to public authorities are outlined in Articles 180 to 190 bis.

In the capacity of a public official, requesting or accepting (directly or indirectly) any gift or privilege in exchange for the performance or non-performance of an act (regardless of their intention) that is within the remit of their office, or that they believe is within the remit of their office (whether the gift is accepted before or after the act). (Chapters 186–189)

Bribery of a foreign (non-Bahrain) public official for performing or failing to perform an act in violation of their official obligations in order to retain or obtain a commercial benefit.

Bribery violations in the private sector are defined in Articles 417 to 422.

Any employee, director, or trustee who demands or accepts, directly or indirectly, a bribe in exchange for the performance or non-performance of an act to the damage of their employer or a private company (regardless of their motive) (whether the gift is accepted before or after the act) (Articles 418 and 419). Even if the act was not within the person’s duty to their employer, but they wrongly believed it was, this offence is found to have occurred (Article 420).


4. What is the legal framework’s jurisdictional scope?

In general, criminal offenses under the Penal Code apply outside of Bahrain when one or more of the following conditions are met: the bribery offender or accomplice is a foreigner or Bahraini national (or former Bahraini national removed from citizenship in connection with the offence);


5. Who can be held accountable for bribery? (government officials, private citizens, legal entities, and so on.)

Bribery violations can be prosecuted against legal entities, private people, public employees, and anybody who aids or abets a bribery offense.


6. Can a parent firm be held accountable for bribery committed by a subsidiary?

Although it is feasible, there are no particular regulations addressing a parent company’s culpability for a subsidiary’s bribery. The situations in which this could happen are fact-dependent. Some scenarios include: the subsidiary is established as a branch in Bahrain, and the principal parent is directly liable for the subsidiary’s actions; the subsidiary is established as a branch in Bahrain, and the principal parent is directly liable for the subsidiary’s acts; the subsidiary is established as a branch in Bahrain, and the principal parent

The parent company operates as an intermediary in the bribery scheme; or the parent firm participated in the bribe scheme directly or indirectly.


7. Are bribes considered facilitation payments (small payments to expedite regular government action)?

Yes, facilitation payments, no matter how modest, are deemed bribery if they fit the conditions.


8. Is there any restriction on political and charity contributions under the law?

There are no specific limitations on political or charitable contributions under the Penal Code.

Political donations are not now used in Bahrain, despite the fact that it is a parliamentary monarchy.


9. Is corporate hospitality subject to any legal restrictions?

There are no specific provisions in the legislation that limit corporate hospitality. Corporate hospitality, on the other hand, may come under the broad definition of bribery. Bribery is defined as giving or accepting goods or advantages in exchange for money, which allows for a broad application of the term.

The criteria outlined in this note would most likely be used to determine if hospitality is a bribe.


10. Do bribery offenses have any defenses?

Bribery offenses, on the other hand, have no defenses:

Before the matter is sent to the court, an accomplice or co-conspirator who self-reports or admits a bribery offense involving a public official will be considered a mitigating element in sentence. (See, for example, Article 193).

If a party self-reports a private bribery offense (one that does not involve a public official) before it is discovered, it will be considered a mitigating factor in punishment. (Articles 427, 428, 429, 429, 429, 429


11. What are the main anti-bribery regulatory or enforcement bodies?

The Office of the Public Prosecutor.

The National Audit Office (NAO) is a government agency that oversee (the NAO).

The General Directorate of Anti-Corruption and Economic and Electronic Security’s Anti-Corruption Directorate.